Sinn Fein is using health in the North as a political football as they try to manoeuvre Michelle into a likely successor for Martin McGuinness.
I attended the Cookstown meeting; 2 days after the Department met with local people to tell local people that in the future they wanted their views on what services they want delivered and where, The Northern Health & Social Care Trust announced that they are reconfiguring local health services during the consultation period. This proves that there is already an agenda that the Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has set out, worse still this is happening in the Ministers own Mid Ulster constituency. (http://www.midulstermail.co.uk/news/health/new-contact-details-for-health-trust-1-7759635 )
If the Bengoa plan is shelved, then why are the public consultation meetings still taking place? Michelle and Sinn Fein are playing the public on this plan, they are trying to gain empathy from people on waiting lists by using RHI as a smokescreen, there is no plan there is only recommendations and the current consultation is not about service changes or service provision it is about setting rules to judge a plan on.
Michelle O’Neill needs to publish the plan that she has put on the shelf, what were the actual services that were going to be provided or what services were going to be reconfigured. In the Republic Of Ireland Sinn Fein have came up with a health plan to solve the current waiting times and A&E crisis in the Republic (https://twitter.com/sinnfeinireland/status/817307934728290304 ). This shows that Sinn Fein are treating people in the North of Ireland as second class citizens.
Health Minister Michelle O’Neill is now playing with people lives and using RHI as a cover for this for political gain. Every political party knew about RHI when it came out, the scheme passed through the Assembly and passed through the Public Accounts Committee and there was never any guarantee that the money being spent to cover the cost of RHI would have ever been used in the Health Service.
Sinn Fein will do well to remember that Rafa Bengoa was appointed by former DUP Health Minister Simon Hamilton almost one year ago (https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/health-minister-welcomes-professor-rafael-bengoa-northern-ireland ). This radical plan that Michelle has just shelved was not an initiative brought forward by her, she simply picked up where Simon Hamilton left off. This leads to a more pressing question what actually has Michelle O’Neill done do address acute health care when the wheels were already in motion when she took up the post to cut acute care across Northern Ireland.
When Simon Hamilton announced a 10 year plan he was critized by Sinn Fein (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/simon-hamilton-long-journey-to-reform-northern-ireland-healthcare-system-34191490.html ) , what beggars belief is that when Michelle took up her post this was thing that she done.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care. (http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/ ). If this was any other area managers and directors would have already been taken to court to manslaughter, mortality reviews have already been carried out hospitals in Northern Ireland (http://savethemid.weebly.com/news/mortality-data-questioned-in-northern-health-trust-including-antrim-hsoptial ). If the plan that she has just shelved is so important to waiting lists in acute care it is negligence to stop it.
Or is the Bengoa report what we all suspect it is, cuts by a different name, we spent 4 years listening to Politicians talk about Transforming Your Care, listening to the language of the Health Minister “Transforming” seems to be in every sentence. With the Republic of Ireland ever teetering on an election it will not look well on Sinn Fein in the Republic if they are cutting health in the North, an election now in the North is the preverbal get out of jail free card for the Party. Michelle O’Neill already stated in October 2016 that she would use the Private Sector to take down waiting list (http://www.irishnews.com/news/healthcarenews/2016/10/27/news/private-health-care-can-help-cut-waiting-lists-says-michelle-o-neill-758638/ ),
“We need to push the system to make sure it can do everything it possibly can and it's up to full capacity and, in the short term, we may need to go out to use the independent sector also.– HEALTH MINISTER MICHELLE O'NEILL”
What has changed since this statement is an election. Everyone knows that using the private sector like this is a short term fix, but with no plan on the table it looks likes it is the only fix. This would show Sinn Fein heading towards privatising Health in the North by leaving patients with no option other than to go to private services running contrary to the messages it gives out in the Republic.
Sinn Fein promised in their election manifesto (https://www.sinnfein.ie/files/2016/MANIFESTO20116Assemblytogether.pdf ) for the Assembly Election in 2016 that they would among other things increase spending in health by £1 billion, currently in January 2017 we still have no budget. This budget was to have been published in December 2016 by another Sinn Fein Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.
If this was happening in the Republic Of Ireland Sinn Fein would be up in arms and taking people in by the bus load from the North to protest at the government.
NHS Lobbyist - Save The Mid